Our Big Druid deck list guide for the Kobolds and Catacombs expansion will teach you how to play this ramp based Druid list. Our Big Druid guide includes Mulligans, Gameplay Strategy, Card Substitutions, and Combos/Synergies!
Ramp druid (Big Druid) is an older archetype of druid that has been missing from the competitive scene for some time. The deck has always had a pretty straightforward game-plan of ramping early and deploying big threats turn after turn in the mid and late-game. The newest iteration of ramp druid is no different in terms of its plan of attack.
Before we go any further, we should get one thing out of the way. This deck is not cheap. It is not close to being cheap. It is not close to being remotely close to being cheap. If you are on a budget, this is not the deck for you. To be quite frank, there are very few cards that you can replace and still maintain a serviceable win rate and the cards that are replaceable are some of the commons and rares (not the legendaries).
Update: Big Druid (February 2018)
Big Druid isn’t a great deck at the moment, but after the nerfs hit this month it is likely to start to see play again. Big Druid has had a history of gaining popularity at the end of Expansion cycles, and towards the end of Kobolds and Catacombs could be no different.
The deck list is updated, but the guide below is not up-to-date! We will be updating the guide soon after the nerfs.
Big Druid Mulligan Strategy & Guide
Higher Priority (keep every time)
- Wild Growth – While Wild Growth doesn’t impact the early board against aggro, it ramps you ahead by an entire turn which is invaluable in Hearthstone. Wild Growth and Jade Blossom are cards you will be keeping in every opening hand, regardless of match-ups.
- Jade Blossom – As mentioned above this should be kept in every hand. The object of the deck is to ramp and this is one of the pieces.
- Mire Keeper – Ramp on a body is very useful, this isn’t your first pick of the three but it gets the job done of increasing your mana pool.
Lower Priority (keep only if certain conditions are met)
- Nourish – Slow but extremely powerful ramp that gets you into your power turns faster. Better kept in a slower matchup or if you have Wild Growth or Jade Blossom already.
- Innervate – Not at all the same card as it was, but in certain situations it will help you get out key minions or give you access to a faster Nourish or Spreading Plague.
- Wrath – You want to keep Wrath versus aggressive decks to fend off their early pressure and to give you some breathing room to play your ramp cards and big minions. If you don’t survive the early game, your big minions won’t have an impact on the game and Wrath helps you survive.
Big Druid Win Rates
Big Druid Play Strategy
Ramp Druid is pretty straightforward and its play-style never truly deviates too much from one match to the next, regardless of match-up. You want to be playing early ramp, gaining a mana advantage and start to deploy a massive minion every turn for the rest of the game. Ramp Druid is a solid choice in a slower metagame like this because it will eventually out-value nearly every slower midrange or control deck since each of its threats are must-kills.
When finding yourself facing aggressive strategies, you’re only real goal for the early game is to survive. You are going to want to pair your early ramp card with removal and transition that into deploying big minions (preferably the ones with taunt). You will usually end games by landing a massive taunt minion and casting an Earthen Scales on it to put yourself out of any potential lethal your opponent may have.
Much like a control deck, Ramp Druid wants to stabilize the board early by clearing off early minions and mitigating as much of the opponent’s damage as possible.
The cards that will usually close out a game for you versus an aggressive strategy are: Earthen Scales, Spreading Plague, Primordial Drake, and Deathwing. These cards are the ones that will close out the games, but you need to bridge the gap between the early game and the late/mid-game when you can deploy these cards. It is worth noting that these cards are not good enough on their own most of the time. They are used to get yourself out of burn range or stop an aggressive player’s desperation push and need to have a relatively controlled game-state to be played on. A controlled game-state can be considered as one where your opponent has few cards in hand and few threats on the board. Once you deal with the remaining threats on board and deploy one of the cards listed above, you are usually going to be favored from that position.
The game-plan you are enacting against control decks is much different from that against aggro decks. You want to ramp early (surprised?) and deploy threats for each turn for as long as the game lasts. The reason why ramp druid is so good versus control strategies is that your sheer number of minions outnumbers their removal.
The name of the game here is value. You want to extract as much potential value as possible out of each of your minions. This means holding onto your minions if your opponent has not played a board-clear yet and deploying your card-generating minions first, like The Lich King, Medivh, the Guardian, and Y'Shaarj, Rage Unbound. These are the cards that give control decks fits because they are almost always going to be 2-for-1s or better in terms of card-for-card value.
After you have exhausted most or all of your opponent’s removal options, you want to deploy your heaviest hitting threats. Deathwing, Dragonlord is one of your best plays after you have exhausted your opponents board clear, since they are going to have to kill it and he can pull out Alexstrasza, Primordial Drake, and Deathwing.
Generally speaking, you are going to be very favored against control decks as long as you don’t overextend into their board clears and manage your minions carefully. While these are favorable matchups, you can easily lose them if you throw your minions at the board with no regard for removal or board clears.
You also have access to one of the largest value cards in the game now with Ultimate Infestation. Landing Kun the Forgotten King on the board, and following it up with UI (with Atiesh, maybe?) and even potentially removing one of your opponent’s minions can outright win you a game.
Big Druid Deck Tips
Nourish should almost always be used for mana crystals if you have less than seven mana crystals. Obviously this is contextual, but the general theory here is: If you die with three extra cards in your hand that you never got to cast, the extra cards were not worth as much as the mana crystals. Of course, if you can cast your spells there is no need to Nourish for mana crystals and you can save it to refuel your hand later on.
A major mistake that many novice Druid players make is using their coin to Wild Growth when it is unnecessary. When using the coin to cast Wild Growth, you should be asking yourself, “Do I have anything to play next turn?” If the answer is no, hold on to your coin so you can jump ahead a turn later in the game. It may make sense to coin out Wild Growth, since you essentially refund the coin for every turn after that (you use a mana crystal to gain the mana crystal permanently), but if you coin out Growth and then do nothing the turn after you pretty much threw away a coin for no reason when you could have saved it to hold on to and use the free mana crystal for later.
Big Druid Card Substitutions
Some of the Legendaries in this deck are pretty irreplaceable. Y'Shaarj, Rage Unbound being the main one, with the main group of Dragons also being very important. Ysera can be included if you are missing something like Deathwing or maybe even Kun the Forgotten King. This particular group of Legendaries is fairly optimized, but if you are missing one you can try sticking in various big Legendaries like Onyxia, Soggoth the Slitherer, or Tyrantus if you have them. Nozdormu is even a possibility if its just sitting in your collection, it can be powerful especially against something like Highlander Priest because they won’t expect it and need long turns to plot out their combo.